If you are planning on having a child, you need to ensure your finances are in order. Raising a child is expensive, with many of the costs occurring before your child is even born.
If you do not take the time to set a budget, it is easy to become overwhelmed by these costs. To help simplify the process, you can split the costs into two separate areas: medical costs and physical items.
Medical costs are typically the most expensive, but these are often one-time expenses. Your level of insurance can put a substantial dent in your medical costs as well. Physical items may not be as expensive, but small repetitive costs can quickly add up. For example, parents often spend a lot on repeated expenses like baby food, diapers and formula. Creating a budget helps you prepare for most costs and helps you set aside extra money for unexpected expenses.
Medical expenses begin for your child before he or she is even born. Expecting mothers have access to several medical assistance programs to help cover the costs of checkups and prenatal vitamins. If you have Medicaid or any other health insurance, the costs are severely reduced or covered entirely. The medical assistance or insurance programs that are available vary depending on where you live. If you are in doubt about your options, speak with your doctor about your financial needs.
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Barring any medical emergencies, childbirth is the most expensive medical cost. The exact price varies depending on the hospital, but on average it costs between $9,000 and $13,500. Certain factors, such as anesthesia and post-delivery care, can increase the price. If you go into labor early, you may have slightly higher medical costs than mothers who go into delivery on time.
With medical expenses, you do not have as many options compared to purchasing physical items for your child. The most important part of planning for medical expenses is learning exactly what is covered by your health insurance. If you want to use a specific doctor or hospital, make sure your insurance plan is accepted. You can check to see if common tests like ultrasounds and amniocentesis are covered, as well as how long you are allowed to stay in the hospital. If you are unhappy with the level of coverage available for child care, consider enrolling in a different insurance plan before you have a child.
During the first year, most of your furniture expenses are for the nursery. The exact items in your nursery may change depending on your needs, but a typical nursery includes the following:
You should pick out nursery furniture before their child is born. If you wait until after your child is born, you may feel rushed and not have as much time to shop around. Nursery furniture can cost as little as several hundred dollars or as much as a few thousand, depending on how fancy you want to get. Parents don’t need to feel guilty if they are unable to afford brand-name furniture. Many of the more expensive furniture options provide the exact same benefits as less expensive models, with the main difference being aesthetic.
One of the ways you can save money on nursey furniture is to purchase used items or to receive the items as gifts from friends or family. If you are buying used, make sure the items are in good condition. Many parents only end up using their baby furniture for a short period of time. Nursery furniture can easily last several years, so you have plenty of affordable options to pick from.
Car seats are one of the most important items for parents to purchase. Hospitals do not let you take your child home if you do not have a proper car seat. The price of an infant car seat typically varies between $100 and $500. All car seats must meet the same safety standards, so you do not have to worry about a less expensive car seat posing a safety risk compared to a more expensive model.
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Used car seats are available, but purchasing a used car seat is significantly riskier than purchasing nursey equipment, since you do not know if the car seat still meets the necessary safety standards for your child. Even if the used car seat looks like it is in perfect condition, it may have been damaged or built with different safety standards in mind.
There are many types of strollers available. If you have never purchased a stroller before, you must be careful with your selection. Certain strollers are only appropriate for older children. Newborn children need a stroller capable of fully reclining. Strollers have a large price range, typically starting around $100 and going all the way up to $1,000 if you want a fancier model. As your child gets older, you can upgrade to less expensive strollers.
Weekly expenses for newborn children primarily focus on diapers, formula and food. Initially, diapers may not seem particularly expensive. Diaper packages only cost a few dollars, with the costs typically breaking down to less then a dollar per diaper. However, newborn children go through diapers quickly, and it is not uncommon for parents to spend between $40 and $50 every month on diapers. You can reduce the costs by using reusable cloth diapers, but not all parents have the time to launder these.
Formula and food for your baby are also expensive. If your child has specific dietary needs, your spending is likely to increase. Formula is particularly expensive, costing around $20 or $25 each week. Mothers can get around buying formula if they choose to breastfeed. Baby food is not as expensive, although you may need to purchase a high chair and bibs initially. On average, parents spend around $50 a month on baby food.
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